Youth Reconciliation Leaders of Thunder Bay


Sonya Belisle

Boozhoo, my name is Sonya Belisle. I am a mother of four beautiful children, all under the age of 7. I identify as Ojibwe and recently graduated from the Early Childhood Program at Confederation College. I currently reside and was raised in the small community of Lake Helen (an hour away from Thunder Bay, ON). I have a passion for learning our culture and keeping it alive. Recently, I began a Hand Drum & Cultural Teachings group for children and adults in our surrounding areas. This will be my first year on the Thunder Bay YRI team and am thrilled to be a part of this initiative. I believe that through cultural experiences and connecting the youth with Elders, we can move forward and heal from the past. I have no doubt, that with reconciliation, we will be building a strong foundation for Indigenous people to thrive. I am looking forward to the experiences and ready to embrace this new journey in life.


Blake Evans

Greetings. My name is Blake Evans. I am a non-indigenous emerging interdisciplinary queer artist, healer, energy worker & Earth loving human BEing. I was raised in a farming community outside of the village of Bayfield in South Western Ontario where I learned from my family how to care for plants which provide our food and medicine. I have received my HBFA in Fine Arts and minor in Native Language (Anishinaabemowin/Severn Ojibwe) from Lakehead University. I concentrate energy into creating visual art for the healing and benefit of my community, the Land and Water. Currently I am apart of the Neechee Studio Art collective in Thunder Bay. This collective of Indigenous and Allied artists facilitates traditional and contemporary art workshops free to the youth, lead by mature artists from the surrounding region. Collaborations with youth and elders who hold differing worldviews from the one I was raised with, allows me to synthesize and integrate learned philosophies into my practise. I foresee an open inclusive future lead by youth of today. I wish to support them in their journey by providing space to share their voices, and actions. This opportunity excites me to engage and connect with youth to learn of the ways they feel justice will surface.  peaceNlove – Thank you gratefully.


Kaitlin Madore

Hello! My name is Kaitlin Madore, and I currently live in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the traditional lands of the Ojibwe people of Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850. I came to this city to attend University and College — I am now a trained teacher and social service worker, and I currently work with adolescent youth attending high school. I self-identify as a Metis woman, but I am non-status, as is my father, and his father before him, due to the fact that my great grandmother, a Mi’kmaq woman, married a white man and lost her own status. My hope for the Youth Reconciliation Initiative is to educate others the way I have been educated, and to inspire hope and pride in Indigenous youth.


Gabrielle Veilleux

Bonjour, je m’appelle Gabrielle. I identify as a French-Canadian woman and I currently reside in Thunder Bay, ON, the traditional lands of the Ojibway people of Fort William First Nation. I have lived in Northern Ontario my entire life and recognize that I have lived in the traditional lands of many First Nation groups, namely the Anishinaabe and the Métis.  I have been fortunate to spend my childhood outdoors and I continue to enjoy activities like hiking, camping and fishing. Through my love for nature and my appreciation for life, I pursued post-secondary studies in Biomedical Biology. I then completed graduate studies in Science Communication and I now get to travel to bring fun science activities to schools and communities across Northern Ontario. I am looking forward to working with the Youth Reconciliation Initiative this year and working towards creating collaborative spaces and events to further Reconciliation in Thunder Bay.